Room 401.




I guess I just woke up one day and realized I didn’t need it anymore.

I found other ways to channel how I felt. I talk to people. Professionals. Friends. Family. I’m being honest and open in a physical-not-digital world sort of way. And I still write my words. Just more condensed. Sometimes even more honest and brave than before.

But then I was scrolling my old posts, listening to old songs I kept on repeat during that month, and I didn’t want November 2016 to pass without writing a tribute.

My figurative stake in the ground.

That oh if the girl in room 401, body reeking of depression, could just see where she is now, maybe she wouldn’t feel as defeated. Maybe she’d have strength to take another step.

. . .

Those were the days of watching Olan Rogers on Youtube and Friends on Netflix and driving an hour to Nashville on weekends to escape campus. When a bag of goldfish was the only thing I ate in a day and I wore unwashed t-shirts days in a row.

They were days when sitting up in bed was the hardest thing to do, and going to class had become a rarity.

They were the days when the smell of Starbucks made me cry, because all I could see was a girl sitting at community tables by herself, uncontrollable tears streaming down her face, texting her mom saying she didn’t know what was wrong with her but something was wrong and she needed help.

They were the days that have made keeping my overhead light on in my apartment bedroom still difficult. That I hated myself so deeply, I wouldn’t even move from my dorm bed to turn it off. No matter what time of day.

I had a friend tell me he thought it was ironic I was afraid of the light, when light is supposed to be so good and hopeful and bright.

I guess that’s what happens when depression becomes your friend. Everything gets distorted. Light doesn’t really look like light anymore; it just looks like a hazy, fading glow while everything else is already foggy.

. . .

I like the idea that whoever the person I become a year from now is looking back on this moment. That somehow my future self already exists and if no one else is cheering me on, I know she is. On the hard days when it’s still hard to get out of bed, she’s whispering,  “Hey you, you’ve got this. Keep going.”

To get out of bed. To take her shower and refill her water cup. To call her friend. To go to counseling. That today’s a hard day but today’s not the day her life ends. That today’s not the day that will be written on her tombstone.

And on the days when things are really good, and I’m too busy overthinking I almost miss it, she’s saying, “This is a good moment, please don’t miss it. Exist in this space.”

To laugh really hard and make time to call her favorite people regularly. To go on dates and kiss boys and feel fireworks again. To text the ones who are still in the woods. That today is the day I told myself about a year ago. The one my blog for the last year has sang of.

The day I survived.

Because right now I am that girl. I have a birds eye view over room 401, and I’m quietly cheering her on.


There are still better days ahead.

And she will survive to live them.




2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dani Criscuolo says:

    Dang, the more I dig the more I just keep finding gold! You rock and I love reading your words. I find relevance and familiarity – I feel this one hard my dude.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emily Dukes says:

      so glad you connected with it! thank you so much for reading


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